By Clint Robertson

In recent years, going green has transformed from a trend to a widespread lifestyle. Now, more and more consumers are looking for ways to help the environment, and businesses are seeing the value in implementing more sustainable practices. It might seem like the biggest way to make an impact in the green scene is to install solar panels on your roof or place a small wind turbine outside, but one of the greenest moves you can make for your business is actually to cloud computing.

Cloud computing uses fewer resources. A report by the Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that small office-based organizations with in-house server rooms direct as much as 30 percent of their electricity consumption toward powering and cooling servers 24 hours a day. It goes on to say that the amount of energy waste is equivalent to the output of seven medium-sized coal power plants and costs these companies more than $2 billion in unnecessary electricity costs.

Converting your business over to cloud computing and having your data delivered through the Internet can not only save your business a bundle on electricity costs, it can also limit the number of emissions your company causes.

But the environmental savings doesn’t end there. One small change to cloud computing has a positive impact that trickles into all aspects of the industry. Eliminating on-site server rooms means companies don’t have to purchase expensive systems to store data. And because fewer companies need the servers, fewer are manufactured, cutting down emissions even more.

Data centers are getting greener. A hot debate surrounding cloud computing is the massive amount of energy consumed by data centers built for the technology. It’s true that large data centers consume enormous amounts of energy. Greenpeace has even said that cloud computing facilities can use as much as 622 kilowatts of electricity per hour.

However, large companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon have been working to limit the environmental footprint of their data facilities, making them an increasingly greener option. Many data centers purchase energy from renewable resources and have optimized their server equipment to be as efficient as possible.

And because the cloud isn’t limited to use by just one company, it alleviates the burden of high electricity prices and carbon emissions for the dozens of organizations that can share a data center’s pool of resources and eliminates the growth of duplicate data. As a business, the most sustainable option for you is to pick the greenest cloud service.

Clint Robertson is a freelance writer who has held numerous positions in the energy industry. His work promotes ways to educate the general population and reduce the carbon footprint for the betterment of the world by focusing on our need for renewable energy sources. @CRobertson106